Shannon Blair’s turbulent recruiting journey came to an abrupt halt when he decided to play football at Tennessee as a preferred walkon. This was a completely different landing spot from the one he had envisioned six months earlier.
Three-star athlete West’s wide receiver and cornerback, he committed to Michigan State in July. He planned to sign in December. He tore his ACL less than a month later in the first game against Bearden.
Lamar Brown, West coach, said that he has never coached a child who’s had to deal with as much adversity. It was an incredible journey to see how he handled the whole thing and not lose heart and still came out on top. Coaches are supposed to mold players. But Shannon Blair has taught me so much more than I could ever tell him.
Blair underwent surgery two weeks following the injury. He began physical therapy three to five times per week. Blair’s Michigan State defensive backs coach Travares tillman, was then announced as his replacement at Georgia Tech. Blair made to leave the Spartans one day before the early signing day and reopen his recruiting.
The 6-foot-1, 160-pound athlete was unable to find any stats from his senior year and was only four months into an eight-to 12-month recovery process. There were also offers from Purdue, Virginia, and Duke. However, he declined all of his FBS offers after he left Michigan State.
Blair stated, “Some schools approached me and asked about my injury. Once I said that I had told them I would never hear back from them again.” It definitely affected the situation this time. It is frustrating but it doesn’t bother me. I know that the schools who believe in me will get a great player.
Blair was offered a lot of offers from FCS schools, including East Tennessee State, Hampton, when he reopened the recruitment. Blair always wanted to play professional football and knew that he would have the best chance playing for a Power 5 school.
Blair didn’t even know Tennessee existed during his initial recruiting process. The Vols did not offer Blair a scholarship. Brown stated that they were a possibility when they first emerged in January.
“Shannon is a great player on the football field. Brown stated that he can play in any secondary position… and that he has a great return game on kickoffs and punts. “I believe he will fit right in with the coaching staff, and i know they are really excited.”
Although Tennessee didn’t offer Blair a scholarship, he was attracted to the opportunity for name, image, and likeness deals. He spoke with staff about his options, but he didn’t say much. However, he did confirm that he has some deals in the pipeline.
Blair stated, “We have already discussed a deal and how to get it done so (tuition), won’t need to come out my pocket.”
Blair has a long way to go before he can get back to his pre-injury self. Blair is now able to run and squat, but he said that he’s only at 25% of his previous physical capabilities.
Blair stated that signing as a preferred student walk-on makes no difference. Once I get there, I will work hard to earn the scholarship. It’s not something I am worried about. “I’m still excited to sign.”